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Panellist and artist profiles

LATE: The cult of food

If you are what you eat then who are we as New Zealanders? The panellists and artists for LATE: the cult of food make their nominations for New Zealand's tastiest dish.

Al Brown

Al Brown is a chef and restaurateur. Al’s approach to cooking is all about simplicity and generosity. His dishes deliver uncomplicated excellence and showcase the culinary landscape of New Zealand. In Al’s opinion, food is the vehicle for conversation, fun and memorable occasions.

National dish: The fritter. Al's favourite is a paua fritter, but says they're also good made with mussels, tuatua, pipi, and whitebait.

Rod Jackson

Rod Jackson is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Auckland. He teaches clinical and public health epidemiology to students and health professionals. He has over 30 years of research experience in Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) epidemiology, and is one of the architects of New Zealand risk-based clinical guidelines for managing CVD risk. For the past 15 years his research has been based around using web-based decision support tools linked to regional and national electronic health databases to implement, monitor and improve CVD risk assessment and management.

National dish: Bread, bread, and bread (and chicken with pasta and veges). Rod says New Zealand's meal would contain lots of bread. It's the food group we get most of our energy from. We probably round it out with chicken and serve it with pasta, or grains and veges. He's not sure it would be our best national dish, but it's what we eat.

Megan May

Megan grew up on an organic market garden where there was always an abundance of beautiful fresh food. Diagnosed with food allergies at aged six, after becoming a qualified chef Megan’s health suffered tremendously through constant exposure to her allergies. After being virtually bedridden for two years, Megan decided to go back to her roots and take control of her own healing by combining her knowledge of and love for food with her awareness of wholefoods, organics and how to obtain maximum goodness from them.

Jesse Mulligan

Jesse Mulligan is a writer, comedian and TV presenter. He writes restaurant reviews for Metro magazine, and has written a number of food travel stories for national newspapers and magazines. He's a keen home chef, and spent several years working in the food industry in London, marketing organic and luxury food brands to the British press. He is the host of TV One's Best Bits.

National dish: Bluff oysters. Jesse picks Bluff oysters because they reflect our proximity to the sea, as well as our polarised opinions. "Half the country love them, and the other half hate them. What a perfect analogy."

Grant Schofield

Grant Schofield is Professor of Public Health, and Director of the Human Potential Centre at AUT Millennium. His research and teaching interests range from understanding and improving lifestyle behaviours such as sleep, nutrition, and physical activity, to wellbeing epidemiology, to human performance. Professor Schofield takes a "think outside the box" approach to his work in tackling the big health problems of our times. He is known for "challenging current beliefs" in his field.

National dish: Roast lamb cooked with butter and served with veges. Grant would serve up lamb and butter for his national dish. As well as reflecting our farming heritage and being the mainstay of our economy, a good lamb roast is a whole-food meal that was recently alive and not tickered with too much.

Andrew Tidball

Andrew Tidball aka the guy behind NZ's leading music website Cheese on Toast plays an eccelctic blend of the very best tunes from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Anne Thorp

Anne Thorp's television show, Kai Ora, is currently screening on Sky’s Food Channel. Of Ngati Awa and Ngai te Rangi descent, Anne’s heritage defines her. Manaakitanga is a powerful Maori concept, which simply means hospitality, a generosity of spirit. She promotes simple, fresh, healthy food using the best produce NZ has to offer. Anne has been Guest Chef on P&O cruise ships for Carnival Australia, has authored her own cookbook and currently hosts at iconic SPQR Restaurant on Ponsonby Road.

National dish: Pork bones and puha. Anne reckons that for tangata whenua you can't beat pork bones and puha, the nostalgic dish of her childhood. "It's far easier to prepare than the daunting hangi, and watercress is a delicious substitute for puha."